Works by Olja Stipanovic examine individual and collective mythologies, methods of communication and signing, memory, history and identity, that are deconstructed, man-made or faked, and in constant flux, in a game of history, culture and power.
A drawing in thread seems to constitute a metaphor of women's hand work itself. Elements of composition are layered and done contour-wise in red thread on plain white paper background, pointing to a surface on which they seem to be floating, as if they were in a vacuum, without gravity or without foothold – optical, moral, symbolic or physical. Like a state of isolation or insecurity where the symbolic loss of ground is manifested through loss of coordinates of space.
The red thread, by its coloristic accent, articulates an idea. In the order of interpretation the thread lines represent the Text - in the way the etymology and meaning of the word are rooted in the Latin word textum (weaving).
Olja inscribes those drawn «stitches» that are a visual translation of private, social and imaginary contexts, at the same time emphasizing on a routine activity as a practice of semantic construction. Stitches represent a visual diary. In this intimate ecriture weaving is a storytelling that makes legible a range of individual or ideological positions that are constructed as a temporary meeting of the subject and codes on the intersection of social formations and personal history.
The surface plane is the area of permutation of different texts. Here the narration is developed by drawn signs becoming "visible" or "readable", like a book, making visible something that shifts and evades, like a stream of consciousness or the nature of time. It is a mapping and reconstruction – an obsessive documentation ritual and diary-style annotation. The story is not just an interweaving of meanings. The story is weaving, as in the order of signification and interpretation where the thread represents the means for building a picture or a story. The world represented here is the contemporary fragmentary world of a decentred subject, critically intoned with minuscule interventions of traces, lines, signs and ciphers.
A single artwork can function individually, but when exhibited as a vast contingent of drawings they represent strategies of construction as a language or system of codes. Concieved in details and fragments, these drawings develop as a sequential narrative. The fragmentarity, as a principle of structuring of an oeuvre and of displaying multiple works, denotes the presence of certain connecting logic, story-making, text-weaving, and also indicates the principle of associative montage, mental assembling.
The world foundation in the (linear, geometrical) perspective, determined by a single viewpoint, meant its presentation and experience seen as a totality, in the form of universal attitude to the world just as it represented some security and stability of the subject and the viewer. Being a consequence of the crisis of representation, reorganisation of the sense of time and space, through manipulating and multiplying viewpoints, it pointed out the position of decentred subject as well as the fragmentary character of its identity. The fragment of space and spatial scene-parsing destroy the illusion of depth, linearity which guarantees the stability and integrity of picture and subject and which is required by the story, emphasising mono-dimensionality, making a detail, fragment become similar to an icon, symbol or sign.